Using Social Media for Business

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Leading online analysts and experts feel that with the increasing penetration of internet in India and improving education and awareness level of consumers, social media and the web in general have become powerful tools in business. This medium provides an organization with the necessary mileage in terms of visibility, and the best part of this is the overall cost efficiency.

This factor comes in especially handy for smaller companies that, more often than not, have limited financial capability and cannot create websites. It helps them to make a name for themselves and be visible.

The fame acquired thus helps them to prosper later on. Companies that have websites can also provide instant information about new products/services or offers or features, without having to rely on traditional advertisement.

Moreover, it guarantees instant feedback and appraisal that can help a company improve its product or services or get the necessary encouragement to keep up its standards and aim even higher.

Prominent Web Based Networks

LinkedIn: Established in 2002 and formally introduced in 2003, LinkedIn is a social networking site that is exclusively for professionals. At present its registered users are more than 150 million from at least 200 countries. As per Quantcast, the site has 47.6 million unique views from across the world. The major advantage of this site as a business owner is being able to find the best people for a position in the company.

OLX: With OLX, companies can design very colorful videos and advertisements for their products or services. If they have My OLX accounts they can also gain some control over the sale of their products. The advertisements on this platform can also be shown on sites such as MySpace and Facebook thus generating greater visibility and awareness.

Quikr: With Quikr, companies, especially in sectors such as mobiles, jobs, real estate, entertainment, cars, furniture, services, and electronics, are able to sell their products as well as look out for prospective employees.

Elance: With Elance, companies can employ freelance professionals that work independently and manage the projects and remote teams with several web based collaborative tools.

Companies that are looking to act as agencies for freelancers and provide them job opportunities can create portfolios and profiles over here and then put in proposals for various jobs. is similar to Elance as it enables companies to search freelancers who can be employed on commissioned projects.

Customer Servicing through Social Media

With the growing rate of internet usage among the masses, social media has now become more than just a choice for companies focusing on customer servicing. The major reason for this is the substantial presence of forums where dissatisfied customers can come and discuss their problems thus generating negative feedback about a company:
Nowadays, customer service providers, who operate through social media, have become extremely important for all private and public organizations. Social media itself is a great platform for companies that are able to use it effectively.

It is imperative that customer service providers and marketing companies work together to come up with a strategy for proper utilization of various social media and networking avenues that can help them create a positive image of the brand. The organizations, on their part, need to adhere to this image while tweeting, posting, blogging or responding on the internet.

A major and fairly effective strategy that is part of both customer servicing and ORM is taking the complaints offline. If a customer is going on posting negative comments about a certain company, it is better to talk to that person online and try and take his contact details like phone number or e-mail so that they can be given individualized attention and assistance.

Often companies ignore such acts on social media considering them to be rants of a few disgruntled consumers but such things can become viral if the complainant has a strong network and substantial follower base. If the problem is taken online, the customers can be appeased to a certain extent and there are possibilities that the online tirade might stop.

Branding through Social Media

One of the major advantages of branding through social media is the considerable market access it provides. Social networking sites are the first when it comes to number of connections and are also capable of generating significant interest through this user base. Once a company avails this avenue, they can enhance their visibility and also increase their customer base.

The market for m-commerce has grown commendably in the last couple of years with a huge increase in user base. The number of people who now access their Twitter or Facebook accounts from their cell phones has seen an eye-catching increase since 2010. It has been observed that most of these users are active and young.

Facebook: Facebook has a user base exceeding 500 million and it continues to grow – this provides companies an excellent opportunity to create a name from themselves and reach out to a vast market.

Companies can create pages and provide regular updates about their existing products and services for their customers. In case they want to launch a new product or service, Facebook serves as a good platform to provide the information as users who have subscribed or liked a page are almost sure to visit the page to check out all the new information.

Twitter: Twitter is also huge when it comes to social media branding. This network features almost all the important people from different walks of life who are regular users of the network. A distinct advantage of Twitter over Facebook is that a company can follow people who are influential in the domain where it is operating.

This allows companies to build up a good rapport with the influencers over the time and then provide them information regarding their new products and services. Following are the two major advantages in such a scenario:

1). Instant and real time feedback in case of a deficiency or problem – this helps in improving the product or service at the end

2). Instant and real time RTs and retweets that help to generate great publicity – since the person promoting the product is an influencer people will take the particular product or service seriously

YouTube: A major advantage of YouTube is that it enables companies to go for video marketing of their products and services. Every month at least 558 million hours of videos are watched. Its registered userbase is more than 258 million and 50 percent of them are regular users.

It has been estimated that more than 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every month – a staggering statistic indeed. In addition to the huge userbase, this site also enables companies to be imaginative and ground-breaking in their marketing. There are several categories and companies now have the luxury of placing their video in the one that they see fit.

Besides, there are brand channels where companies can create their separate page and promote their videos and other promotional content. However, they need to find out the cost factor and also make sure they are providing users valuable and interactive content that will ensure repeated viewing of the page.

Pinterest: The major advantage of Pinterest is its userbase of approximately 3.3 million who generate page views in excess of 421 million. This offers brands several opportunities to create their separate identity and draw some attention.

Evan Sharp, the co-founder and designer of Pinterest says that the main idea of the brand is the real deal on this website. Its format is such that companies cannot go on an overdrive of pinning pictures. Instead they need to think unconventionally and use images that carry the spirit of the brand.

With Pinterest, holistic marketing holds the key and it has to be more engaging and efficient than conventional advertisements so that users can understand how the particular brand will be useful to them.

Pinterest also helps a brand get a hang of its followers’ likes and dislikes, their favorite holiday destinations and food and so on. It is also great for crowd sourcing whereby fans can be asked to pin their photos with the particular company’s products and tag them. These pictures can be used to attract new customers.

Pinterest is a great platform for generating greater brand awareness through contests because of the engaged nature of its users.

Google +: With Google+ business pages, the brands can provide all of the following related to their products or services:
  • breaking news
  • links
  • updates
  • photos
  • promotions
Companies can also interact directly with their clients through video chat and address their issues or take feedback from them regarding the development of their products or services. With the +1 button, the companies can make sure that they are being promoted by people, who appreciate them, to their friends and connections across the world.

With Google+ companies can also find out how their brand page is faring and how it can perform even better. They can also learn about the possible effects of the interactions with the followers on their business overall.

Blogs: A great way to brand an organization is to have an official blog where an important person of the company provides the content and does the interaction. This blog can be used for both promotion and generating awareness through news, updates, offers, and so on.

Such blogs also help the brand better its visibility and trustworthiness for the users. If the blog has a comments section, it can become an interactive experience whereby users can come in and post their views, which can help in developing the product or service even more.

Tools to Measure Online Social Influence

Kred: Kred measures the social influence of a user by generating scores that are premised on the content, its reach and the people who take an action based on the content. This analytics tool also judges if the content has been shared or not. It operates on the principle that every user has some influence and so provides both generalized and unique scores.

Klout: Klout deals in social media analytics programming that aims to get a measure the influence that a user has in his social network. Data is collected from sites such as Facebook and Twitter for the purpose of analysis. It also looks at the network’s size, the content and people’s reaction to the same.

Effective Web Procedures for Businesses

Online Reputation Management: The process of online reputation management or ORM is an integral practice of present day business operations. The main aim of this process is to contain negative emotions about the brand like criticism in online social media sites and/or other web content like blogs and comments section of the official web page.

Search Engine Optimization: The procedure of search engine optimization or SEO can be defined as a collection of techniques that is used to make sure that a particular website or webpage shows in the top 5-10 results of the SERP (search engine results page) and thus enjoys greater visibility.

Social Media Optimization: Social media optimization is the methodology used by businesses to make sure that they can generate greater awareness about their products or services on social media and, in the end, get a certain level of transaction.

Last Updated on 05th July 2012